Thursday, May 28, 2009

State Data Support Conclusions of EDF/SMU Study on Barnett Shale Emissions

Al Armendariz, Ph.D. from SMU has issued a press release. Back in January 2009 Dr. Armendariz and the Environmental Defense Fund released information from a study about the negative effects of Barnett Shale Gas Drilling on the DFW Metroplex air quality. Of course, the Oil and Gas Industry tried to dispute it and couldn't come up with valid information to back it up. Now the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has finished their study and agree with Dr. Armendariz and the Environmental Defense Fund. The TCEQ study came up with more information on the negative effects. Below is a copy of the whole press release. After you read it you can go to the links to get more information.
This sentenced jumped out at me.
"This new data also estimated that emissions for the entire 19-counties of
the Barnett Shale area were approximately 200 tons per day."

from the desk of Al Armendariz, Ph.D.

Oil and gas sector emissions in the Dallas-Fort Worth area are significant, but cost-effective solutions are available to reduce the environmental impact and increase revenue for oil and gas producers.
From 2004 to 2007, officials from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) worked to develop the latest version of the clean air plan for the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, with input from other stakeholders including US EPA, local and regional governments, the business community, EDF, and other environmental groups. In May 2007, at the hearing when the TCEQ adopted the clean air plan, testimony was presented which indicated that oil and gas sector sources in the Barnett Shale area around the city of Fort Worth were greatly underestimated in the clean air plan. This testimony cast serious doubt on the accuracy of the photochemical modeling at the core of the state’s plan. Nonetheless, the TCEQ commissioners adopted the plan.
In the state’s May 2007 clean air plan, oil and gas sources in the 9-county DFW metropolitan area were estimated to produce only 26 tons per day (tpd) of smog-forming nitrogen oxides and volatile organic emissions.
There is a common misconception that all the natural gas being produced in the Barnett Shale is “clean” gas, with no impact to the environment. While it is true that the use of natural gas for electricity generation results in much lower emissions of sulfur, mercury, and greenhouse gases compared to coal, the production (upstream) and processing and transport (midstream) parts of the natural gas sector can have very large environmental impacts. The official records from the Texas Railroad Commission demonstrate that oil/gas activity in the approximately 20 counties of the Barnett Shale area produces hundreds of thousands of barrels of condensate liquid and crude oil, which are stored in thousands of above-ground tanks that vent to the atmosphere.
Since May 2007, independent efforts were undertaken by both the TCEQ and SMU/EDF to estimate the real magnitude of oil and gas sector emissions. The SMU/EDF effort was lead by me and coordinated by Dr. Ramon Alvarez of the Austin office of EDF. The new data compiled by the TCEQ after May 2007 estimates that smog-forming emissions in the 9-county D-FW metropolitan area were approximately 90 tpd. This new data also estimated that emissions for the entire 19-counties of the Barnett Shale area were approximately 200 tons per day.

These updated state results are extremely consistent with the independently-produced results of the SMU/EDF study that I released in January 2009. For the 2007 calendar year, I estimated emissions in the 9-county metropolitan area to be 112 tpd on average and I estimated estimates for the entire 19-county Barnett Shale area to be 191 tpd on average. These numbers are within 10-20% of the TCEQ estimates (90 vs 100, 200 vs 191).
In my report I also accounted for the increase in VOC and HAP emissions that occurs on peak summer days because of heating of volatile compounds in storage tanks. I estimated emissions to be 165 tpd in the 9-county metro area and 307 tpd in the entire Barnett Shale area during a hot summer day.
The fact that separate efforts by the TCEQ and SMU/EDF to correct the emissions inventory for oil/gas sector sources in the D-FW area are coming to the same approximate answer is satisfying. Claims earlier this year by some gas company representatives that my estimates were too high by a factor of 5 or more appear to be completely unsupportable.
While it would have been best to have the updated TCEQ data in the emissions inventory and photochemical computer modeling prior to TCEQ adoption of the DFW clean air plan in May 2007, it is clear that in the future, state and federal regulators will have a more accurate picture of the true magnitude of emissions from the oil/gas sector in this part of Texas.
It is unfortunate that the oil and gas sector chose to lobby against common sense measures that were introduced in the Texas Legislature this year that would have both reduced emissions, plus resulted in increased revenue to producers from the capture of excess hydrocarbons that are otherwise being vented to the atmosphere.
Nonetheless, I hope the industry realizes that the days of venting methane and hydrocarbons to the atmosphere are probably numbered. If I was their lobbyist, I would be strongly advising them to take all necessary measures to reduce emissions starting today, to give themselves time, lessen the impact that future initiatives are bound to require, and help protect the environment. my emissions inventory, references, and additional information can be found at:

Environmental Defense Fund

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

URGENT!!!! HB2110 May Be Attached To Another Senate Bill

We had an e-mail forwarded to us concerning HB2110. There is a possibility it will be attached to SB18 (an eminent domain bill). Below is the wording from the e-mail and other possibilities. It is important now more than ever to contact our Senate and House Contacts... ASAP!!!!!

"We need to have about over 500 calls or emails to these guys today opposing any bill that would take away our Municipality’s control over ordinances, especially gas & oil drilling ordinances that protect our residents.

Subject: Possible vehicles

I still think SB 18 will be the best vehicle. Currently it is in House committee but it is reportedly coming out this Friday.
SB 1023 also is an eminent domain bill but industry is killing it and it is no threat.
HB 257
HB 179
HB 3557
HB 4618
HB 2105

(email 2)
These bills are possible vehicles.

This late in the session House members try to resurrect their bills that didn't make it past last weeks deadline. SB18, the eminent domain vehicle is drawing bills like flies to honey. One of them is HB2110 which died on the calendar last week. (the bill that protects local control related to gas and oil drilling)."

Senate Contacts:
Senate District 12--
Senator Jane Nelson
Capitol Office: CAP 1E.5Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0112
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 12068, Capitol Station Austin, TX 78711
District Address: 1235 S. Main St., Suite 280Grapevine TX 76051Phone: (817) 424-3446

Senate District 9--
Senator Chris Harris
Capitol Office: CAP 3S.5Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0109
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 12068, Capitol Station Austin, TX 78711
District Address: 2001 E. Lamar Blvd., Suite 150Arlington TX 76006Phone: (817) 461-9109

Tan Parker
Capitol Office Room E2.606, Capitol Extension Austin, TX 78701
(512) 463-0688 (512) 480-0694 Fax
District Office 800 Parker Square, Suite 245 Flower Mound, TX 75028

(972) 724-8477

Friday, May 15, 2009

Oil and Gas Accountability Project OGAP

This project has been very successful in New Mexico and Colorado. OGAP has worked to bring local, state and federal reforms to protect water and landowner rights in the above states. Reform is needed here in Texas and efforts to start the project here is happening right now. We know we can't rely on the Texas Railroad Commission to regulate and reform. Drilling is here to stay so lets make sure it is being done the right way and in the right place. Below is the link for the Texas Oil and Gas Accountability project.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Interesting article on gas leaks and compression stations.

Apparently it isn't just mercaptan (the odorant added to give natural gas a detectable smell) that is leaking from the compressor stations in the Town of Dish, TX. They have detected natural gas too.

"Residents have complained for several years about natural gas odors in and around metering and compressor stations. At least 10 high-pressure natural gas pipelines converge in Dish, most through three metering or 11 compression stations.

Industry officials have repeatedly told residents that the smell comes from mercaptan, an odorant that is added to natural gas as it is processed there. Since natural gas has no odor, energy companies add the chemical to help detect gas leaks.

Dish officials purchased a natural gas detection unit that can pick up concentrations as low as 5 parts per million. After residents reported a strong odor on April 26, Tillman said, he got positive readings on the detection unit for several hours and reported the resul
ts to the Texas Railroad Commission."

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

STOP HB 2110

HB 2110 is on the move again. It is extremely important that you contact our House Rep Tan Parker and as many other representatives you can. This could be financially devastating for all towns. This bill gives the authority to Oil & Gas Co. and Developers to sue the town for enforcing their ordinances if the decision isn't in their favor. It would be like "holding a gun to the head" of all local governments saying "let us do what we want, how we want, and where we want or we will sue."

This has to do with the Private Real Property Rights Preservation Act. Currently local municipalities are generally exempt from this Act. The passing of this bill would tie up our state courts with litigation about municipal regulation that delays or prevents a landowner from accessing their minerals on their property.

This is not a problem in rural areas but in areas like Flower Mound where there is high density housing it becomes a huge problem. Then the quality of life of many others is compromised.
As mentioned before, this bill came about because of the River Walk well site that was denied many variances, not just one or two.

Our town should have the right to protect its citizens and maintain control of where gas and oil development is allowed. Please send e-mails or faxes ASAP. Go to the link below. There you can click on each representative and e-mail your letter or get their fax number and fax. I have been told faxes are more effective.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Oil and Gas Board Special Meeting Wednesday 5-13-09

It will be an open and closed session. It is to discuss the Red Oak Gas vs The Town of Flower Mound and the Oil & Gas Board of Appeals. Cause # 2008-10189-16 in the 16th Judicial District Court of Denton County

Please attend if possible.